Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are my kids bi-polar or just kids?

This morning Bayly woke up and was a pill from the get go.  We are living in a hotel room for the week while my wife has a conference.  A normal child will be grateful for the "spoiling" she has received.  The pool trips.  The later than any five year old should be allowed to go to bed bed times.  The popsicles, candy, treats, junk food, crack cocaine (pixie sticks), movies and whatever else we did to keep them quiet and public appropriate.

So this morning Bayly "Couldn't find anything to wear!"  She didn't want to wear a dress.  No dress?  She wears dresses to plant a garden.  She wears dresses to ride a bike.  She even wears dresses over her dresses to go grocery shopping.  With the FIVE TO TEN dresses that are clean and packed out of the question, we move onto the other perfectly acceptable garments available to her.

"This is too tight."
"This is ugly."  Even thought she has just about worn a hole in it.
"I don't want that."

Normally I would just leave her in her room and let her tantrum it out.  But we are living in the lovely Hilton Chicago.  (More on the amenities of lack thereof later)  I cannot in good fatherhood let her scream and yell and be a spoiled little "girl" where the whole 3000 room hotel can hear her.  So I did what any "good" father would do.  I told Cali that we were going to breakfast and left.  I didn't really leave.  We just left the room and waited in the hall.  Usually that is enough to snap her into line.  Usually.  Three minutes or so later there was a little voice at the door.  So I go in only to be sternly asked to "GIVE ME PRIVACY!  GET OUT!"

"Where am I supposed to go?" I asked.  "The bathroom?"  There is only the bathroom and the main room.  I can't hide out in the open.  I have yet to perfect the cloaking device.  Soon....Soon...  And then I will make millions...........

So back into the hall Cali and I go.  Soon its "I have no leggings, but Cali does."

"Fine, get hers but change your shirt.  You wore it all day yesterday AND you slept in it."

This simple statement set off another whole ration of shit.  At this point, I am the end of whatever frayed rope I have been dangling from.

"Fine. Wear the shirt, but lets go."

Crisis adverted.  Not really but adverted in the loosest sense of the term.  Off to breakfast.  The kids agree to share strawberry pancakes because the restaurant doesn't do single flapjacks.  Compromise.  A step in the right direction.  It would have been great, but either kid failed to eat any pancakes.  Cali ate the strawberries and Bayly wasn't hungry.  Whatever.  I had no more fight in my for another public battle.  But my cinnamon roll french toast was killer.  If you come across it anytime, do yourself a service and gobble them up.  Or go to Yolk in Chicago.  Its up to you.

So we finish breakfast of champions (really breakfast of wills) and head to the shuttle to go to the kids camp.  Another perk of the conference.  I have been kid-less for two afternoons.   Bummer, I know.  I make do.  On the shuttle she's right as rain.  I stopped trying to figure women out many many moons ago.  I have found its easier and better for the psyche not to try.  But I figured I would be able to figure out a five year old.  Not so much.

Is she bi-polar?  Is the "I change my mind because I am a woman" thought process (or lack-thereof) imbedded at birth?  Is she just a kid?  Am I out of my mind for thinking I could figure these beings out?  All of the above?  Perhaps.  Probably.  Most definitely.

As promised here is more about the Hilton.

I am writing this post from a Starbucks eight blocks from the hotel.  Starbucks, where you can come, sit, buy an overpriced yet delicious beverage, or not, and use the WiFi.

Hilton Chicago.  Where you get a room that costs more than a beverage from the barista (some of them, at least), and no free WiFi.  They charge some ungodly fee and still charge for the room.  Its a nice room.  Not thee nicest room ever built but it works.  Would it kill them to have some free WiFi?  I've been to a fair amount of hotels and motels in my day and in my experience the fancier the joint the lack of free WiFi.  But as you work your way down the price ladder of establishments, the more willing they are to give free internet access.  Go figure.

If you work for Hilton, the last part was just a rant.  Don't take it personally.  If you don't work for Hilton, be prepared to dish out a few bucks if you want to access the interweb at their elegant and magnificent establishment.  

I am a dad. I am still a man.

It occurred to me the other day that fatherhood has changed me.  This "revelation" came to me as the girls and I were watching Disney's "Brave".  For those who have yet to see it, or won't ever see it, it is a story of an independent princess.  But not a princess in the likes of the glitzy, girly, prince Charming waiting, evil step-mother having princess.  This strong, independent princess will do good for girls near and far.  She is very similar to my princesses.  Independent, strong willed, don't tell me no, I can do it myself kind of princess.  Sound familiar?

Back to the dad part.  Ever since Bayly entered this world I noticed a change in myself.  I am sure other father's have noticed the same change.  I started to get teary-eyed at sappy movies.  I started to see things differently in the way of emotional situations; mostly in movies and shows.

At the end of "Brave" there is an emotional reunion of sorts of the princess and her mother.  I could feel the room get "dusty."  Darn dust; always gets into my eyes and sure as the weather men are wrong my eyes start to water.  I am totally confident it was the dust concentration in the air and had NOTHING to do with the  movie.  NOTHING.

So as I was driving my family to a business trip for my wife, and everyone in the car was either sleeping (wife), watching a movie (Bayly), or annoying her sister to no end (Cali) I had the aforementioned revelation.   While I may have become an emotional movie watcher, or developed and very acute allergy to dust (more likely), I am still a man.  I do man things.  I mow the lawn, superbly.  I fix things, sometimes just good enough, sometimes not superbly, sometimes it gets the job done.  I do have two kids, ya know.

The moral of this is I can be both.  I can show my princesses that a father can have that emotional side, or that its ok to be really allergic to dust and I can do masculine things.  I guess that is just the juggling act of fatherhood.  At least in the fatherhood of stay-at-home-dad land.

Being a good dad/father/man is tough work.  All we can do is our best.